Gathering shows solidarity, unity for members of New Tampa mosque set on fire

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Community members stood together in a show of unity, solidarity and support on Friday evening for members of a New Tampa mosque torched by an arsonist.

Investigators said the criminal set fire to the outside of the building, doing minimal damage, but the fire set off the building’s sprinkler system.  There is significant water damage inside the mosque.

Outside of the worship center, dozens gathered at 7 p.m.  They came from all walks of life and all religions.

Imam Junaid Khan addressed the crowd.  “I am thanking God for giving us this beautiful community, who came to us and have reached out to us in solidarity, in unity and showed the haters that this is the America we know,”  said Khan.  “This is the community we know, this is the Tampa we know. ”

Many in attendance felt the need to come.  Tena Nock-Hope came with her wife.

“What it’s about is humanity.  No, my personal church wasn’t attacked, but I have to stand up for my brothers and sisters, because one day it could come to my front door,” said Nock-Hope.  “And I want someone to be there should it come to my front door. ”

Mahfoud Rabbani agrees.  “When I see a rabbi or I see a priest here, it makes me feel so good.  So proud.  ‘Cause this country, this is what this country is about,”  said Rabbani.

“Help each other, be there for each other. ”

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